Amman

By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Amman?

Do you need a car in Amman > Should you rent a car in Amman Jordan > Amman ( AMM )
Car: Do you need a car in 2? No car: Is it worth hiring a car in 2? Slider: Should you rent a car in 2? Should you rent a car in 2?

Amman car hire quick facts

Cheapest rate for one week Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

160

 #193/300

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Amman but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
How much should I expect to pay in the peak season? Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €

300

 203/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 169 - of which 114 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

67

%

58/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Amman public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.

0%

#300/300

  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score {coming shortly}

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.

--%

#---/300

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Amman good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score {coming shortly}

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Amman

--%

#---/300

Need, worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Amman", "is it worth hiring a car in Amman", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme:

Do you need a car in Amman?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city.

Is it worth hiring a car in Amman?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares?

Should you rent a car in Amman?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

The Jordanian capital is an incredibly compact city, where the historic core is richly connected and inherently walkable.

Do you need a car in Amman? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Amman?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Amman? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Amman as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Amman?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments


There are few reasons to want to drive anywhere immediately outside of the city, because all of the major attractions in Amman are very central. The compact nature of the old citadel makes driving impractical, with many of the narrow streets only being open to one way traffic.

It is much easier to walk, or at least trust the navigation to local taxi drivers.

Amman car hire advice

Visitors arriving at Queen Alia International airport outside Amman can also make relatively easy road transfers into the city centre, whether by taxi, scheduled bus or private transfers. The airport was purpose built in the early 1980s to cater for growing air traffic. You will find it some 20 miles (30km) from the city centre. A new terminal, designed by Foster & Partners, opened in 2012.

You may well notice the railway to Aqaba crossing the airport access road, but for the time being, this line is not open to passenger traffic. Rail transport in Jordan is very limited, with the one passenger service currently still open being the line running through Zarqa and Mafraq. This line has historically continued through to Damascus in Syria – please check locally for any operational updates.

Beyond Amman

  • Petra – The ancient city of Petra, which is by far and away the most famous tourist attraction in Jordan is nowhere near Amman, but some 3 to 4 hours’ drive south of the city. Petra is much nearer to the resort of Aqaba. There is still little reason to want to drive down to Petra in a hire car. It is much easier to either fly directly to Aqaba in the first place, or to transfer to Petra by bus or coach.
  • Wadi Rum – used as a backdrop for numerous films, from Lawrence of Arabia to various Sci-Fi epics as a stand-in for Mars, Wadi Rum is a further 110 km south of Petra. Allow around 2 hours’ drive from Petra, or 5 hours from Amman.
  • Aqaba – the red sea resort city of Aqaba sits due west of Wadi Rum, or around 125 km / 80 miles by car south of Petra.

When combined with the Dana Biosphere Reserve, which sits to the north of Petra on the route down from Amman, you may start to see a potential road trip unfolding. Whether you see this working its way into a one week car hire excursion is another matter though. You may well still find that this route can be done using organised tours. Scheduled bus services are an easy enough option between Amman and the three main places above – Dana reserve less so.

Why should you rent a car in Amman?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Amman?


  • Head south on your own terms – a natural road trip would include Dana Biosphere, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba.
  • Limited rail services – trains of no real use for tourists.

Why not? Visiting Amman without a car

What is public transport like in Amman? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in Amman?


  • Easier to rely on packaged trips.
  • Destinations like Petra involve spending large amounts of time in enclosed car free areas, a car only useful to get there in first place.
  • In many situations, it will be easier to get where you want to go by bus, as this avoids the hassles of renting and driving.
  • Jordan has a very poor road safety record.

Amman car hire verdict

Given the inhospitable nature of the Jordanian landscape, and given that many of the tourist experiences outside Amman itself will be well packaged regardless, we see little reason to look at getting a car here. It’s worth looking at if you really crave for the independence a car will give you, despite all the hassles. Relatively speaking, Jordan is a moderately safe place, but that’s easy if you take that comparison against Jordan’s immediate neighbours!

Car hire and car driving is still a risk wherever you go. You may well be able to find a decent Amman car hire deal directly from Queen Alia Airport, and you may indeed want to head straight on a road trip of the south, missing out Amman altogether and going straight for Petra and the barren delights of Wadi Rum. If you do this, I think that would be a shame, as you’d be missing out on the many points of interest in Jordan’s ancient historic capital.

Highways in Jordan are generally modern and well laid out, especially between the cities. Sadly, there is no working rail service that will be of any use to visitors to Amman.

Do you need a car in Amman?  Ultimately, our Amman car hire verdict remains a “no”, but it’s certainly one of our softer recommendations. If you are already coming here with getting a hire car in mind, then a bus of some kind is going to be your only other real option, unless you want to hire a private car with driver. Once you are thinking about doing that, then a standard rental car starts to look like a much better option.

Verdict – no (soft).

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Would you hire a car in Amman?

Have you driven in Amman? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Amman?

Do you need a car in Amman? For some or all of the time? 

Tell us what you think using the comments section below:


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